THE Mayor of West Yorkshire has said she will not reopen the bus station at Bradford Interchange "until it is safe to do so".

Bradford's main bus station - run by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) - has been shut since early January after a block of concrete from the structure collapsed into an underground car park.

In March, WYCA said it was "anticipated" the station would "need to remain closed for at least a further three months to allow surveys to be completed".

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The bus station at Bradford Interchange remains closedThe bus station at Bradford Interchange remains closed (Image: Newsquest)

During an event unrelated to this topic on Tuesday, the Telegraph & Argus put two questions to Mayor Tracy Brabin about the situation with the Interchange bus station - amid strong, ongoing public interest.

Asked if it would reopen next month, she said: "Thank you very much for being so focused on it because I know the public are very concerned about the Interchange. 

"My responsibility as Mayor is the safety of the people I represent, so I will not open the Interchange until it is safe to do so.

"We're waiting for further surveys - part of the problem was the age of the Interchange and also climate change because of water ingress.

"I can't allow anybody in there that could be harmed, I have to be fully reassured, and if it doesn't open then we will have a plan B."

In March, a WYCA meeting heard a temporary bus station could be set up in Bradford city centre should repair work at the Interchange stretch into 2025 - which is City of Culture year.

WYCA said at the time it was in talks to find potential sites for a temporary option.

Since the station's closure was revealed at the start of the year, the T&A has been contacted by countless residents complaining that they do not believe officials have provided enough information about the situation. 

Councillor Matt Edwards, leader of the Green Party on Bradford Council, has been vocal about the issue and what he described as "inadequate communication" from WYCA and Mayor Brabin.

The T&A asked Mayor Brabin how she would respond to concerns about a perceived lack of transparency on the issue.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West YorkshireTracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire

"Obviously I'm disappointed that the public feel we've not been transparent - but I can't tell the public what I don't know," she said.

"We are waiting for those surveys to come back.

"What I won't do is make a decision without evidence.

"We've got to know what needs to be done - and if we can't resolve this problem then we will have a plan B.

"But can I say to your readers, thank you for your patience - and also thank you to my colleagues at Metro, who have been out in all weathers, advising people where to go to find the alternative bus stops."

Mayor Brabin acknowledged there had been "a lot of disruption" in the heart of Bradford - not just because of the bus station closure but also due to work to pedestrianise some of the city centre's main roads.

"It has been really difficult for the people of Bradford," she added.

"But rest assured, the future will be brighter for Bradford."

Questions over Freedom of Information request

On January 12, the T&A submitted the following question to WYCA under the Freedom of Information Act: "Please can WYCA provide all written correspondence it has made and received regarding the emergency closure of the bus station at Bradford Interchange, up to today (Friday, January 12, 2024)."

WYCA confirmed to the T&A that it "does hold the information covered by your request" - but stated it was "unable to provide the information as this is being withheld" under two regulations of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. 

On March 25, the T&A contacted WYCA asking for an internal review of its decision - stating that members of the public have a right to know the information.

WYCA said this would be answered within 20 working days. However, an answer is yet to be given.

The T&A asked WYCA why it had not responded within 20 working days. However, no response was given to that question.